Thoughts From My Life
Sep
30

TD Travel Visas

Written by Neil Galloway
 

TD Bank offers a few different rewards Visas you can choose from. There are their Travel Reward cards that you earn TD Points with or the straight up cash back rebates on the TD Reward Cards. There are a few others like low interest, student, and business cards. You can check them all out at the TD Visa Homepage.

I am not going to touch on the other cards, because they don't interest me as low interest rates are not an issue. If you ever keep a balance on your credit card, I can almost tell you for certain that the low interest cards are definitely the route you will want to go. You will have to figure out how much you are going to save in interest and what your annual fee is to see if it is worth it.

I have previously looked at Aeroplan and Air Miles and you can read about them in these articles:

How To Collect TD Points

There is only one way to collect TD Points. You must have one of the TD Travel Visas and you must charge stuff against it. Unlike Aeroplan and Air Miles where you can use their seperate card at various businesses, you must use the TD Visa.

There are 3 different cards available. Unfortunately, there are is not a single "no fees" card available.

Redeeming TD Points

I was researching on their website to redeem them and it appears to be their TD Travel Rewards site. You must have a login (your card number) and password.

Note: Their website states that you must redeem 10,000 TD Points at a time when you do use them. That sucks a little bit, but that is in $50 increments which would be easy to use up on flights and such.

What Is A TD Point Worth?

I was frustrated that I could not log in and check since I personally don't collect them, but from checking out their website it appears that they are worth about $0.005/each. You can input how many points you have and it will tell you the value of them. It appears that you don't have to pay a TD Point rate for a flight, but you use your TD Points at a rate of 0.5 cents/each to pay for the flight.

The downside is that your points are never worth more than 50 cents, but that also means they are worth no less. It also appears that they are no subject to blackout periods because of this. You can just book any flight and use your points like cash to pay for them.

Bottom Line: Each TD Point is worth 0.5 cents.

Which Card Is Worth It?

With each point being worth 0.5 cents, it is easy to figure out if they are worth it or not. The 3 different cards have an annual fee of $19, $99, or $120. So you need to at least recover the fee you pay in TD Points to make these cards worth it.

Each card earns points at different rates though. The TD Classic Travel Visa earns 2 points for every $1 spent for an annual fee of $19. The TD Platinum Travel Visa earns 3 points for every $1 spent for annual fee of $99. The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite earns 3 points for every $1 spent for an annual fee of $120. It includes a few other perks like cancellation insurance that explain the increased annual fee.

From my calculations you would need to spend at least $1,900 to cover your fee on the TD Classic, $6,600 for the TD Platinum, and $8,000 to cover your fees on the TD First Class card. Everything you spend on top of this will be the extra points you are using.

$6,600 is fairly easy to spend and you might think right away that the TD First Class Visa is worth it, but that isn't a true comparison. That number is just to break even. If you owned the the Classic card, you would have already attained an extra 10,000 points or $50 above your break even point. So the TD Classic card would still be better at this point.

I did the math to see how much you need to spend before upgrading your card is worth it. Please keep in mind that there are other perks to these cards that might make you decide they are worth it (travel insurance, etc). The bottom line for the TD Classic is that you need to spend $1,600 to just break even.

Here is the table with my calculations of the minimum amount you should put through your card annually to make it worth it. There is more explanation after the table.

Table Minimum Spending Amounts
CardAnnual FeeEarning Rate per $Minimum Annual Spending Amount
TD Classic$192$1,600
TD Platinum$993$16,000
TD First Class$1203$20,200 + one extensive trip

For the TD Platinum card, my calculation (post a comment if you want to see them) is that you need to spend at least $16,000 before the Platinum card starts to earn more money back after deducting annual fees. That is a hefty jump.

The step up from the Classic to the TD First Class would require $20,200 in purchases, but if you try to compare the Platinum to the First Class you cannot as the earnings rate is the same. The Platinum always looks like the better by.

That being said, there are other considerations. The TD First Class earns a higher rate on purchases made through the Travel Rewards Centre than the Platinum card and you always receive free cancellation and interruption insurance. There is also medical insurance for trips under 8 days. If you make one significant trip a year within the country that you would purchase insurance or you go out of country, this feature would more than pay for itself on the TD First Class card.

In my opinion, the TD First Class card is great for people who travel extensively at least once a year. The TD Platinum card is ideal for people who just travel within country and it is on short little trips.

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Related Posts

Credit Cards Can Be A Good Thing
TD Rebate Rewards and TD Elite Gold Visa Cards
Scotia Bank No Fee Money Back Visa Card Review
Credit Card Fees - Are They Worth It
Aeroplan Versus Air Miles - Comparing Them

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Category: Finance

Original Post: Tuesday, September 30th, 2008


8 Comments

Fella Says:
2008-10-18 00:27:45
Great info. Well thought out. Well done!

XSF Says:
2008-12-06 19:25:02
IMHO, the Amex Blue Sky is a much better option.
It is similar in that points can be used as cash towards flight-related expenses. From my calculations, Blue Sky points are worth 1.25% of most purchases. The best part is that there are no annual fees. The only negative is that Amex is not accepted in as many locations, but I haven't haven't had too many issues with that.

mike Says:
2009-07-13 16:46:35
The best thing about this card in my opinion is that you can use the points towards the taxes. Whereas with Airmiles you might book a ticket from Calgary to Paris and then still need to pay taxes, you can cover your entire flight using solely points.

Don Says:
2009-11-13 03:33:28
On a TD Platinum card you get 3 points per dollar spent (9 if you buy travel through them directly). 10,000 is worth $50 so if you spend $3,333 you get $50 and the return is 1.5% You can redeem on ANY travel (e.g., a package vacation, a hotel you paid for, a rail ticket, etc.) so most people can redeem them. Being able to buy package vacations is a real bonus in my mind. We put everything we can on TD Visa (groceries, gas, cable TV, Phone and Internet) and get several hundred $'s back each year.

We also collect Air Miles but with no associated card. Mostly we collect by buying gas at Shell but also from the LCBO and Rona. We redeem for $20 METRO food certificates. 140 points gets $20 of groceries so a point is worth $20/140 or $.142 If I buy $40 of gas I get 2 Air Miles worth about $.28 for a yield of .7% ($.007). If I get $.015 from Visa and $.007 from Shell I get $.022 or 2.2% on my gas purchases.

My wife is a retired TD employee so we get our cards for $60 per year which makes the payback period even shorter. Between us we probably spend about $50,000 a year (as I said we charge everything) for which I get about $750 of flexible travel money back ($690 tax free "income"). We spend about $600 a month on groceries through Visa these days which gives us $108 a year we didn't get a few years ago when we paid cash at the supermarket.

Omar Says:
2010-02-16 15:02:33
Good analysis. One item to note is that if you have a Select Service Chequing Account with TD Canada Trust and maintain at least a $5,000 balance, the monthly bank account fee is waived, AND you get the annual fee waived on any TD Visa card. Not a bad deal!

Lynn Says:
2010-04-01 18:37:00
Is TD bette r than the MBNAPremier Rewards (they say it is0 anyone know???

GLEN BOUEY Says:
2010-08-31 18:25:41
WE TRAVEL THRU USA AND CANADA WITH A DIESEL RV ...... MOST STATIONS PUT A $100.00 OR LESS LIMIT ON EACH PURCHASE IS THEIR ANY WAY AROUND THIS ...... ALSO MOST US STATIONS REQUIRE A US POSTAL CODE MATCH ??
ANY IDEAS ?

sam Says:
2010-10-27 02:58:18
You do not need to enter a matching zip code. You just need to enter a valid one.

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